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Football start-up Dugout appoints first in-house lawyer

Social media football start-up Dugout has appointed its first in-house counsel from Perform Group as it gains backing from some of the sport’s biggest clubs.

The company has appointed Adam Lovatt as its first in-house lawyer from Perform where he was group legal counsel until September 2016. Lovatt trained at Scots firm Maclay Murray & Spens before moving to IMG as a legal counsel.

Dugout, which launched its website and app in November last year, provides a social media platform for football clubs and players to provide exclusive content to fans.

The start-up’s board of directors counts staff at Premiership football clubs Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and, as well as German giants Bayern Munich, French club PSG and Italian club Juventus. Barcelona and Real Madrid are also founding members of Dugout.

The company also has significant backing from some high-profile City lawyers. As well as its partnership with leading clubs, the start-up includes Linklaters corporate partner David Avery-Gee among its directors and the Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom founding London managing partner Bruce Buck, who is also chairman of Chelsea.

Avery-Gee told Legal Business: ‘The premise is to give football clubs their own joint platform to publish and monetise their off-pitch and behind-the-scenes content. It’s unprecedented to get all these clubs to band together on a joint venture like this.’

Lovatt was previously in-house at Perform Group, the digital sports media company, from 2015 until September 2016, which over the summer scored a $2bn deal to broadcast the top tiers of Japanese football. Prior to this, he was legal counsel at sports and entertainment management giant IMG.